The Love That Fares
01 May 1991
`Happy are the pure in heart for they shall see God.' If your vision is dazzled by things which glitter, then you don't get a look-in on real love... for people, or for God.
She was, one might say, the product of the Californian Sixties... flower-power somewhat faded, sadly jaded; gentle underneath, but guarded, hardened outside.
She had married her high-school counsellor, who abused her; she remarried; and then divorced again. Her own daughter - child of a teenage pregnancy, taken from her at birth - had come to live with her without knowing she was her real mother. The girl found out - and left at once. Why had she not been told before? Now alone again, the mother in mid-life searched for a relationship that might last... her present partner wanted only weekend pleasures, not weekday responsibilities.
Such emotional exhaustion was sad to see. Love down the plug-hole, leaving just dregs of hurt and fear. Love deserves a clearer, cleaner quality. It needs purifying.
Purity, in my book, is simply the freedom to love without lust - without lust for power over others, for status or money, for sexual domination.
Love needs to be given freely - not `free love', for love costs a lot. Without purity it easily turns manipulative, even exploitative.
Purity is freedom no less from the pollutants of drugs, drink, blaming and anger - addictive habits which mangle relationships, batter the emotions, assault our clear-sightedness.
Purity, in a word, is liberation.
`Happy are the pure in heart for they shall see God.' If your vision is dazzled by things which glitter, then you don't get a look-in on real love... for people, or for God. Or, put another way, if your heart craves anything - noble or nasty - just for its own satisfaction, then most likely you will miss the joy and splendour which is found by those who thirst for the ultimate relationship, with the loving Creator of it all.
A young Australian Member of Parliament, at the start of his political career, tried an `experiment in ultimate realism' when he accepted a challenge to let his conscience speak on his living and values. Out of the blue a thought, a promise, formed in his mind which redirected his political career. `If you live absolute purity, you will be used towards the rehabilitation of the Aboriginal race.' Years later his work in Aboriginal education and land ownership legislation won national recognition. But what had absolute purity to do with this, I asked him?
Purity, he said, was `the alternative to self-gratification which kills intelligent caring for others'. It is the opposite of paternalism. It is wanting nothing from another person except `their highest relationship with God'.
What a basis for social reform! Could it be a basis for daily living?
Leaving the office late one night, I stopped at a traffic light and noticed girls in miniskirts touting their erotic business at car windows. Reactions tumbled rapidly through me: fascination, fear, compassion. `What would a fling be like?' I wondered. `No, never! Even once could destroy everyone I hold most precious.'
The light turned green and I was on my way home, lucky to have a home to go to. Most hours of most days, I reflected, a fleet of temptations pass me by, often unrecognized. They usually don't wear miniskirts. Anger, self-pity, flattery - each has a power to seduce.
`Create in me a clean heart, 0 God; and renew a right spirit within me.'
This is the first in an occasional series on moral values by Michael and Jean Brown.